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Movie love in the fifties

by Harvey, James, 1929-2020

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 791.4365 H26
Location  Northland Public Library
 
Collection  Nonfiction
 
Call Number  791.4365 H26
 
 
Summary
"What I set out to do is to help you see movies better, to experience them more deeply and sharply and richly," says James Harvey. And his critical method-reading a movie moment by moment, scene by scene-reveals new layers of meaning in even the most familiar films. See how 1940s film noir evolves into 1950s melodrama how the femme fatale of the 1940s (think Barbara Stanwyck) becomes blander and blonder (think Doris Day) and then younger and sexier (yes, Marilyn) and how the new boy-men-Clift, Brando, Dean-finally steal the show. Harvey also discusses the directors: Hitchcock, Ophuls, Kazan, Welles. Comprehensive, vivid, and charismatic, Movie Love in the Fifties is a fresh look at the films, directors, and actors of a dynamic decade. "Whether he's escorting us through Nicholas Ray's Bitter Victory, Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life, Orson Welles's Magnificent Ambersons, or any one of a dozen other great films from the period, Harvey lends us an astuteness of analysis and a power of observation that we couldn't have had on our own."-Wendy Lesser, The American Prospect
Contents
Introduction
pt. 1. The women. Noir heroines
Out of the past
Vertigo
Betty Grable to Doris Day
Marilyn Monroe
Hitchcock's blondes
Janet Leigh and Psycho
The Big heat
pt. 2. The men. Clift, Brando, Dean
Method movies
In a lonely place
James Dean
Nicholas Ray
Bitter victory
pt. 3 The movies. The Fifties
t\The Reckless moment
Robert Siodmak
Christmas holiday
Orson Welles
Johnny Guitar
pt. 4: The moviemakers. Retrospective
Written on the wind
Douglas Sirk
Ross Hunter
Imitation of life
Conclusion.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Whatever you might be thinking, this isn't about onscreen amour, 1951-60. Instead it's a meditation born from Harvey's estimation that "the whole postwar period from the late forties to the early sixties" is an underappreciated era of American movies, a bridge between the glossy splendor of the tyrannical-big-studio era and late-'60s cinema. Quoting AndreBazin, the dean of all French film critics, Harvey notes that the "`revolution' in the postwar Hollywood movie was in subject matter, not style." His subsequent essays on the stars, films, and directors pay most attention to movies manifesting "recurring little `epiphanies'" --perfect little details that carry "such a sudden pressure of meaning and beauty" as to deeply affect thoughtful viewers. The individual chapters "Betty Grable to Doris Day," "Clift, Brando, Dean," and "Noir Heroines" are all great, but Harvey is at his languid best parsing director Douglas Sirk and producer Ross Hunter, not least for their Imitation of Life. Individual films, such as Vertigo and The Big Heat, also receive chapter-length consideration in this engrossing study. --Mike Tribby"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This impressionistic, illuminating and sometimes infuriating analysis of '50s films is an exquisite oddity: an investigation of popular culture that is as personal in its vision as it is scholarly in its range, as compulsively readable as it is detailed and exhaustive. Harvey's wide-ranging knowledge of films of the era dovetails beautifully with his ability to pinpoint "epiphanies" the recurring "fleeting scene of detail that carries such a sudden pressure of meaning and beauty... it could implode the movie screen." Rather then simply cataloguing films by themes or genre, Harvey (Romantic Comedy) takes on the far more difficult task of examining them through a prism of conflated, often conflicted views to attempt to understand their myriad sources and meanings. This ambitious project is at times enormously successful, as when he moves seamlessly through a discussion of the role of "the blonde" in '50s films, noting not only performances by Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Holliday, Grace Kelly, Gloria Graham and Kim Novak, but also the contexts in which their films were made, their personal lives and their public images. Other times as when he provocatively suggests that Marlon Brando, James Dean and Montgomery Clift projected a "homoerotic charge" he seems overwhelmed by the complexity and implications of his arguments, leaving the reader feeling shortchanged. Though ostensibly about "love," much of the book is actually about "gender"; Harvey draws on (but rarely mentions) a history and tradition of feminist film criticism. Yet when he spends a sustained amount of time on a film usually cult favorites like Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar or Robert Siodmack's Phantom Lady his analytic method produces extraordinary results. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Love in motion pictures.
Nineteen fifties.
Publisher Cambridge, MA :Da Capo Press,2002
Other Titles Movie love in the 50's
Language English
Description xi, 448 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 429-432) and index.
ISBN 0306811774
9780306811777
Other Classic View